Sharing SA’s music with the world

2 May 23 | Profiles

South Africans are ecstatic that Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode brought home the biggest music award in the world – a Grammy!

The trio won the 2023 Grammy Award for Best Global Music Performance for their collaboration Bayethe. Held in Los Angeles on February 5, the 65th annual Grammy Awards saw Wouter bringing home his second Grammy, and Zakes and Nomcebo their first.

“Bayethe, a powerful South African Zulu royal salute of ‘Hail’, inspired the three musicians to create a universal message – a distinct call to action to the world to lighten our loads, to heal and bring peace and happiness,” explains Wouter on his website.

Speaking to Saffa Mag, Wouter said it ‘feels amazing’ to have won a Grammy Award for Bayethe. “What makes this extra special is that it is an all-South African project. It’s been my mission to export South African music to the world, and winning the Grammy is the megaphone of broadcasting to the world.”

Over the years, Wouter has released nine albums, won eight South African Music Awards (SAMAs) and now, his second Grammy. His album, Winds of Samsara, a collaboration with Indian composer Ricky Kej, won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album in 2015.

“When musicians from very different genres collaborate, it is always exciting, because you create something very creative and unexpected. I loved collaborating on Bayethe and was thrilled with how the song came together in the end,” said Wouter, who plans to also collaborate with other musicians.

“The flute is by nature a collaborative instrument, so I am constantly collaborating. We’re making some very exciting plans at the moment, but I can’t reveal them until they are confirmed.” He is driven by putting beautiful music and good energy into the world. “This is what excites me. I’m planning some new music and looking forward to travelling the road it takes me on.”

Speaking to Saffa Mag about her Grammy Award, Nomcebo said she’s the second female South African artist ever to win a Grammy, after Miriam Makeba. “I’m over the moon… Coming from a small township in Hammarsdale, it’s incredible! I never thought I would represent SA on the world stage. This song will always hold a special place in my heart.” She is known for writing and singing the world-renowned Jerusalema. “I was sure I would be nominated for a Grammy for Jerusalema, but I wasn’t. I knew that God knew that Bayethe was coming and He put me in the right place at the right time. Now, look at me, I’m a Grammy Award-winning artist.” Nomcebo said it was a pleasure working with Wouter and Zakes, who are talented musicians, each with their own skill sets.

I have a few international collaborations lined up. Music is always about collaborative efforts. As musicians, we need each other to be able to give our fans the best music possible. That is why Wouter, Zakes and I are proud Grammy recipients, because we decided to collaborate.” As for the future, Nomcebo said her fans have been patiently waiting for a new musical project from her. 

“I think it’s time I reward them with more of what they love me for, my music.”

Wouter moves listeners all over the world

Wouter has come a long way since his first appearance as a soloist with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra in 1981. Whether it’s his strikingly original flute-playing that moviegoers hear on the soundtrack of the Emmy Award-winning film, Eye of the Leopard, or his own compositions, Wouter’s work is unforgettable.

Nomcebo, renowned for Jerusalema

Nomcebo was a backing singer for several years before co-writing and featuring on Master KG’s 2019 chart-topping single Jerusalema, which debuted at number one on the Billboard Music and Apple Music charts. The song garnered more than 500 million views on YouTube and more than 300 million streams on Spotify. It also united South Africans during the height of Covid-19, spreading hope and support across the nation with various organisations, healthcare facilities and schools challenging each other with their own version of the Jerusalema dance.

Zakes, the face of Afrotech

Zakes, who has fast become the face of the emerging genre Afrotech, which has taken the airwaves and dance floors by storm, said during his Grammy acceptance speech: “This moment right here, to anybody who’s in Africa, just proves and affirms that every dream is valid.” Born and raised in KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal, Zakes obtained a certificate in Light Music from the Durban University of Technology, where he formed his record label Mayonie Productions during his final year. He released his debut album The Good Life in 2008. Two years later, he released the album Love, Light and Music, which included songs such as Clap your Hands and Wasting my Time.

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